Steve Rushin's article How We Got Here was the icing on your anniversary cake. I look forward to many more successful years of SI.
KENNETH WALTON, ELLICOTT CITY, MD.
40 Years of Sports
When I read Mark Mulvoy's statement in To OUR READERS (Aug. 16) that Steve Rushin's article How We Got Here was the longest that SI has ever run in one issue, I put off reading it for several days. When I did, I not only breezed through it, but I also found that Rushin had filtered 40 years of sports into what now seem the five most telling subjects of the past four decades.
JEFFREY GOLDFARB, Washington, D.C.
Rushin did a terrific job of profiling four men who are representative of pro sports in the last 40 years: the innovative television executive, the flamboyant owner, the enterprising promoter and the strong-willed, independent athlete. Unfortunately, the mix of personalities like these is inevitably a volatile one, leading to player strikes, contract disputes, escalating ticket prices and overcommercialism.
GREG KORN, San Antonio
Perhaps the biggest change in sports has come in the role of the athlete. The notion of a player working in the off-season to supplement his income now seems quaint, while the idea that a retiring player could consider buying a franchise is unsurprising.
Baseball was the first to pay its players lavish salaries. It did so because it was forced to by an extraordinary union leader, Marvin Miller. Love him or hate him, he should have been the subject of one of Rushin's profiles.
DAVID KAHAN and JAMES BUCKING, Boston
Having handled public relations for the Cleveland Browns from 1961 to '64, I was especially delighted with the profile of Jim Brown. We should remember that he set his records in 12-and 14-game seasons. Today NFL teams play 16 games. Most people don't know that he almost never fumbled, perhaps a dozen times in his career, and two of those fumbles came in a game in which he played with one hand in a cast.
MARSH SAMUEL, Delray Beach, Fla.
I enjoyed your 40th-anniversary issue, but I was surprised that the names of the two other men on the cover of your first issue were not included along with that of Eddie Mathews. The catcher was Wes Westrum, and the umpire was Augie Donatelli—the answer to a good trivia question.
JOSEPH DECLAN MORAN, Miami
In this era of smack-talking, sound-bite-driven, in-your-face media coverage, it was refreshing to read the letters in your 40th-anniversary issue from charter subscribers who cherish the written word. Just last month my brother and I were summoned to New York to clear out our parents' attic. Once up there in the stifling midsummer heat, we jockeyed for position, amid mothballs and basketballs, for the best old issues of SI. I got one with a Dollar Bill Bradley article. Dave got the NBA-ABA merger issue. Damn!
My youth was recaptured with each SI cover we found in that sweatbox. Do me a favor, though: Ask those charter subscribers how they haul these babies around when they move. I've ended up with a mountain of magazines that's bigger than life itself.
PERRY ZANE BINDER, Miami
A Canceled Dream
This is difficult to write. I am an average guy: raised in Rochester, N.Y.; youngest of seven kids; now living in New England. My father still lives in Rochester, and he has a love for baseball that spans 70 years.
Last December my wife and I gave my dad a framed print of the new ballpark in Baltimore, along with a promise to take him to the home of his beloved Orioles. The promise became a mission when I learned that my father has cancer and is not expected to live to see another fall. It's not easy to get tickets to Camden Yards, especially living in another part of the country, but through a friend I got tickets for two Oriole games against my favorite team, the Boston Red Sox.
You know the rest. Here I sit. My father sits in Rochester. This trip was not about baseball, but it needed baseball for it to happen. This trip was about fathers and sons resolving things and storing memories; about a son getting that one-in-a-million chance to make his parents' dreams come true, just as they always tried to do for him. Now the owners and players have canceled my dad's dream. Over what?
ED KELLY, East Hartford, Conn.
Justice for Jennings
E.M. Swift writes in your Aug. 1 issue (World Class), "The last time an American won a medal in a distance race on a track at the Olympics was in 1964 when Bob Schul and Bill Delinger placed first and third in the 5,000 and Billy Mills won gold in the 10,000." In fact, Lynn Jennings got a bronze medal in the 1992 Olympic women's 10,000 meters in Barcelona.
GORDON BAKOULIS, New York City
•In addition, some track aficionados consider the steeplechase a distance event, and George Young (1968) and Brian Diemer ('84), both Americans, earned bronzes in that race.—ED.
Letters to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer and should be addressed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020-1393.